The Popple has a friend.
She was talking about him non-stop last week, but I had no idea what she was saying at first. Her language skills are pretty good but she’s still only two, which means that at least 30% of what she says is actual nonsense. I spent ages trying to work out what she was going on about.
“You have a friend called Liam?”
“Yes. Friend called LIAMMM!”
I was really excited. A friend is a big deal. Up until now, she’s only used the word ‘friend’ in reference to her stuffed animals, our cat, and occasionally dogs she meets on the street. I grilled her about this Liam character.
“Is Liam a boy from nursery?”
“Is he a nice boy?”
“Do you play trains together?”
“Does he like to dance?”
“Does he like to read books?”
All of that could be true, or absolutely none of it. The Popple wasn’t big on details. But she kept interjecting, “Friend called LIAMMM!” randomly into conversation for the rest of the day, so I figure he must be a pretty big deal.
I know pretty much nothing about Liam, but that’s fine. I’m just thrilled that the Popple has a friend, because it’s a sign that maybe she’s not going to be as socially awkward as I was as a kid.
People skills have never really been my thing. When I was around the Popple’s age, I would walk backwards into my grandmother’s house so she couldn’t see my face. MY OWN GRANDMOTHER. You can just imagine how I was around other children.
I was never an outcast, but I always kind of felt like I was on the outside looking in, and I had started to see hints of that in the Popple. Whenever she encounters children playing, she always hesitates to join in. Instead, she stands to the side and observes them, with a look of total seriousness on her face. It seems like a sensible approach – you don’t want to hang out with people until you know what they’re about – but it got me worried that she might become an outsider kind of kid. And that can be hard.
I’ll still love her if she turns into an awkward outsider, obviously. She can go through a goth phase, get really into slam poetry, become one of those kids who has an ant farm, whatever. I just want her to have friends, have fun and feel good about herself. That’s all that really matters.
So here’s to Liam – hopefully the first of many friends. Good luck keeping up with her, kid.